Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs heading south? Tequila!

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Whether the Cubs close with Angel Guzman or Angels in the Outfield, they need to get out of San Diego with a series win if they want to keep their pennant race intact as they near September.

Because this week is already starting to take on a look of that 1-6 Colorado-Phillies stretch last week that dumped the Cubs from first place to the fringe-contender neighborhood of the National League.

``That wasn't a good week of baseball,'' manager Lou Piniella said Monday - before Kevin Gregg turned a 1-0 game into a 4-1 loss in the ninth at PETCO Park. ``We can't afford another week like that.''

If they go south again in San Diego, the only worm that turns for these guys might be the one at the bottom of a bottle in Tijuana. And Gregg started the bus heading the wrong way.

The Cubs are six games out of first for the first time since July 2, 2007.

Winning on the road already has been a problem (25-34) - much less in San Diego (0-4, with four runs total).

Consider that this seven-game trip ends with four in Los Angeles against the NL-best Dodgers, and it doesn't look pretty.

``Seventeen out of [22] games on the road in August is not the easiest thing in the world,'' Piniella said. ``And five days in Denver, too much. That altitude's so high. It takes it out of you after you've been there three or four days.

``And then we get back home at 4 in the morning from there to play the Phillies, and we lost a tough game and then they beat us up the next two days. But, look, the bottom line is, no, we'd like to stay more consistent.''

If they can survive this trip still in sight of first-place St. Louis, they might have a decent chance of resurrecting their playoff race.

Nine straight games after that - and 22 of 23 - are against teams that currently have losing records. The Cubs are 41-23 against those teams, even after Monday's crash in San Diego.

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Have I not been saying this for the entire season, since Gregg was required? The Cubs are 60-56. Gregg has blown 6 saves, according to how baseball rules determine them, has blown 5-6 more leads, and has 5 losses. He is directly responsible for 11 losses. Let's say he wins or saves 8 of those games, like he is paid to do, and the Cubs are 68-48 and would have a 2 game lead right now. Is he totally to blame? NOT AT ALL. Jim Hendry put this group together. Look at Miles, when was the last time that guy had a meaningful hit? 2 months ago, maybe? He can't even hit .200. What about his other acquistions or failed pickups? We could have gotten Bell or Sherill to solidify the closer. Peavy was out there for the stretch run. Someone needs to slap this high paid primadonnas in the paycheck. They get these big contracts for performing at a high level. Why can't management dock them for poor perfomances? If they could, Sorry an Oh, would be paying the Cubs. 17 million dollars for a less than average hitter? Release him and use the money left over for a new ball bag or bag of new baseballs.
4 runs in 4 games at SD against one of the worst teams in the league? Getting hammered at home by the Phillies, blaming the altitude for stinking it up in Colorado?
Isn't it time for these high priced babies to take responsibility and stop embarrassing the Team City and the fans by playing like they are 30 games out. ENOUGH is ENOUGH. I am on official boycott until I see at least one of these things change. Please start by getting rid of baseballs worst closer. 15 blown saves in 1 1/2 year. Enough said!!!

Cardinals will win the Central division by 8 games. Maybe next year. The Goat Lives!!!

Good grief Lou. Shall we all gather up the violins, and bring along some cheese for your whine. It's amazing that there's over a half million people who are able to survive living in Denver. It's bad enough Cub fans have had to suffer through the ugliness this baseball team has provided this season, but please spare us all of your excuses.

Yeah, Lou, things are tough all over. My old football coach said time and again, "An excuse is no substitute for performance." The schedule may have been a bit brutal, but the play was generally lousy by almost everyone on the field. I remember many scoring opportunities blown because of hitting into doubleplays or key batters striking out. Fontenot last night with bases loaded is a recent example. He has looked pretty miserable at the plate for quite a while now. Theriot and Baker should be out there every game until they show the strain. Fuld is doing better than Soriano both defensively and offensively. What's with these highly paid superstars who cannot get key hits or make key plays? Bradley at least has looked better lately, but he also seems to be swinging at too many bad pitches and stikng out when a key hit is needed. I don't have any answers either for Lou, but things had better change quickly or those rotten redbirds are going to run away with the division again with a team that on paper is not as good as the Cubs.

Where's Billy Martin when you need him,,,he would never put up with this type of performance from his players...

I haven't made it to a single game this year...and I'm glad I haven't. This team has underperformed since Day 1. Who wants to watch sub-par baseball? It's like watching exhibition football -- something interesting to have on in the background, but the actual game doesn't mean anything. Show that you've got a heartbeat for Heaven's sake!!!

I say you pull EVERYONE WHO IS NOT PERFORMING, regardless of what they make or whether their feelings will be hurt. You pull Soriano until he figures out (A) he needs to stop swinging at breaking stuff low and away,(B) he realizes his current contract calls for more than singles, and (C) he needs to RUN after balls hit his way/over his head., not just jog to get it. Fuld/Fox actually make contact, play good D, and hit the ball out of the park. You pull Fontenot in favor of Baker...since he's swinging the hot bat. Nice thought to have another lefty in the lineup, but I'd rather take a right-handed bat who's actually hitting the ball than play the lefty who "might" leave a few people on the bags. Kevin Gregg needs a new on a bus out of town.

Sadly, I think they've still got a chance at the Wild Card, but they need to make some changes to even have a chance. If not, I'll just turn off the TV and wait for football season to start. At least then I'll be getting what I paid for......

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on August 18, 2009 12:52 AM.

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